About Jourama Falls
Jourama Falls was an intriguing multi-tiered waterfall that tumbled over at least seven visible drops (from what I could tell).
We don’t know the cumulative height of this waterfall series, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Waterview Creek would tumble well over 200m or so.
Jourama Falls sits within the Paluma Range National Park, where the Nywaigi people have referred to this mountain range as Munan Gumburu or “misty mountain”.
That kind of tells you how much moisture tends to collect here and feed the creeks and waterholes that drew us to this part of the North Coast of Queensland.
Speaking of waterholes, further downstream of the main drops of the Jourama Falls were additional cascades and waterslides at the so-called Rock Pools.
On our first visit in May 2008, when Waterview Creek still had fairly high flow, we saw some pretty daring youngsters go for a swim.
On my second visit in early July 2022, Waterview Creek had much lower flow, but it was still an ideal spot for some families to go for a swim.
Indeed, this was another waterfall excursion where we can both appreciate its visual impact from its lookout as well as to go for a swim to cool off from the tropical heat and humidity.
Given that each of our visits yielded different experiences, let’s get into our trailside description of the excursion.
The Hike to Jourama Falls – from the Trailhead through Waterview Creek Crossing
From the car park (see directions below), we embarked on a 3km return track leading to Jourama Falls.
For the first 800m or so of the walking track, we hiked on dirt in a pretty flat and open terrain flanked by some thin trees with darkened bark.
Along the way, there was a spur path leading down to a somewhat calm part of Waterview Creek that might be an opportunity for an atmospheric dip (especially given that there’s lots of big, smooth, and rounded boulders here).
Anyways, this straightforward first part of the Jourama Falls Walk soon reached a crossing of Waterview Creek, which had a pretty high flow during our May 2008 visit.
On that initial visit, we had a real tricky time trying to keep our feet dry as we had to take on this crossing by carefully choosing our steps over a combination of boulders and turned over buckets.
So this crossing was one of the reasons why we thought we were getting a little more adventure than we bargained for going into the hike.
As scary as it looked, the park authorities’ efforts in putting both chains to hold onto while also filling in buckets that served as foot steps to facilitate the Waterview Creek crossing definitely helped.
In fact, with a combination of our waterproof Gore-tex boots and these aids, I managed to keep my socks from getting wet on this crossing (though Julie had one misstep and got one foot soaked).
Considering how scary this crossing looked, I thought that getting through the crossing without getting water to intrude over the top of the hiking boots was a minor miracle.
So you can imagine my shock when I came back in early July 2022, and I saw that there was a bridge that made this a trivial crossing given Waterview Creek’s lower flow.
That said, I could imagine how this hike would be impassable if Waterview Creek been running even higher like it might tend to do in the Wet Season.
The Hike to Jourama Falls – beyond the Waterview Creek Crossing
Beyond the wet part of the crossing, we then had to go through a bit of a bouldery stream bed traverse, which was quite slippery and dodgy on our first visit in May 2008.
The awkward footing and slick terrain from the smooth boulders that we had to weave through made it real easy for a fall here.
It certainly made us wish we had brought our trekking poles to aid with the balance.
However, apparently over the years, the authorities have really improved conditions by filling in and flattening out the formerly sketchier parts of where the trail became awkward boulder scrambles.
So this made the hike so much easier during my early July 2022 visit, and I managed to breeze through this traverse just like I breezed through the bridged Waterview Creek crossing.
Anyways, at the end of the stream bed scramble, we then picked up the signs and the track again as it started ascending a combination of steps and switchbacks.
The track then took us towards a junction with a spur trail where that spur led back down towards Waterview Creek at the so-called Rock Pools, which was a swimming hole amongst another jumble of boulders.
From down here, I could only see the uppermost tiers of Jourama Falls, which whetted the appetite to see more of that waterfall.
So returning to the trail junction and continuing on the upper path to proceed on the main track, we had to go up a series of switchbacks for the final 600m.
By the end of these switchbacks, we ultimately made it all the way up to the overlook of the impressive Jourama Falls.
As if the heat and humidity of tropical Queensland didn’t already make us sweaty to this point, the uphill stretch certainly ensured that we’d be drenched with sweat by the time we made it to the end.
Yet when we did make it to the overlook, we were treated to a very comprehensive view of the cliff giving rise to what appeared to be a broken jumble of waterfalls over seven drops drop on the cliff before us.
While it looked like there were trails of use going beyond the railings of the lookout towards what I’d imagine to be the top of Jourama Falls, that was considered a restricted area so I didn’t bother continuing.
Returning from Jourama Falls
After having our fill of the Jourama Falls Lookout, we looked forward to the all downhill trajectory of our return hike to the car park.
However, we once again had to negotiate the tricky stream crossing of Waterview Creek in high flow on our first visit (which slowed us down).
Nevertheless, it didn’t seem as difficult on the way back as it did on the way in.
Of course, on my return visit in early July 2022, the whole hike was a breeze thanks to the improved infrastructure and lower flow of Waterview Creek.
In any case, the overall walk took Julie and I a little over an hour away from the car, and I took a similar amount of time on my return visit when I did it solo.
That said, on my second visit here, I actually spent less time on the trail and more time enjoying the scenery thanks to the improvements made over the years.
Jourama Falls resides in the Paluma Range National Park near Ingham, Queensland. It is administered by the State of Queensland Department of Environment and Science. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Although the directions seemed to be pretty straightforward, accessing the car park itself on the last 6km of unsealed road was a little scary for us.
That was because the adventure with the crossings of Waterview Creek wasn’t only limited to the hiking portion as described above (especially on our first visit in May 2008).
Indeed, the unsealed access road to the falls included two fairly scary-looking creek crossings that we had to get through in order to finally arrive at the car park.
On our first visit to Jourama Falls in May 2008, we managed to get through the crossings in our 2wd rental vehicle only after watching another passenger car in front of us.
This is probably why trying to visit Jourama Falls in the Wet Season may not be feasible due to the high flows making crossings like these too dangerous.
That said, when I came back in early July 2022, even though it had been raining a bit, Waterfall Creek ran much low, which made these crossings trivial by comparison.
Beyond the initial concrete fords, there was a day use area for Jourama Falls, which made it tempting to stop the car here and start hiking.
However, it turned out that this was nothing more than a day use picnic area, and it was still pretty far from the actual trail itself.
Indeed, we had to drive another 850m beyond the picnic area (bypassing a turnoff leading to a neighboring campground) before finally reaching the car park at the trailhead for Jourama Falls.
By the way, when you leave Jourama Falls and return to the Bruce Highway (A1), if you intend to go south, you actually have to go north for 1.2km before making a U-turn to go south.
For geographical context, Ingham was about 53km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Cardwell, 113km (90 minutes drive) north of Townsville, 148km (over 90 minutes drive) south of Innisfail, 235km (3 hours drive) south of Cairns, and 1,343km (15 hours drive) north of Brisbane.
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